Yellowstone vs Yosemite: What’s the Difference?

The National Parks system hosts amazing places to visit across in the United States. Yosemite as well as Yellowstone National Parks are both incredible destinations for anyone who is a nature enthusiast or history buff. They offer what appears as endless trails, scenic routes, mountains and waterfalls, however they’re not identical.

Here are the six main distinctions between Yosemite and Yellowstone.

Here are the six major differences between Yosemite vs. Yellowstone:

Major DifferencesYosemite National ParkYellowstone National Park
Size1,187 square miles3,742 square miles
Attractions10 main attractions6 main attractions
WildlifeFive unique mammals and birdsSix unique mammals and birds
WeatherColder and has a longer snow season; summer sees more consistent warm temperatures during the dayLess drastic weather changes due to more even elevation; snow and rain are common throughout the winter, spring, and fall seasons
GeographySierra Nevada Mountains; Glacier-based attractionsRocky Mountains; Geothermal-based attractions
TourismCentral location near major cities and not far from the ocean; more than 4 million tourists per yearRemote location; still sees over 4 million people annually

In this article you’ll learn everything you should be aware of Yellowstone in comparison to. Yosemite. I will go over the distinctions between the two parks , and their past, as well as the most efficient way to travel to these parks. I will also explain why, it is possible to choose to go to Yellowstone rather than the more popular alternative, Yosemite.

What are the Differences Between Yosemite and Yellowstone?

Both parks are stunning and stunning, however Yosemite provides superior accommodations as well as tourist information and the chance to see many of nature’s marvels and more, while major cities are within reach. If you visit Yosemite it is possible to gain access to California’s stunning mountains, huge riverways, and stunning forests.

The Features of Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park offers proximity to major cities, amazing nature trails, soaring mountains, massive forests, beautiful waterfalls and a variety of wildlife that is fascinating. These are the main features that constitute the bulk of the park’s distinct features and make Yosemite aside from Yellowstone.

Yosemite offers better accommodations due to its proximity bigger cities. It also gives an easy transportation to and from the park. Furthermore, guides are readily accessible to all visitors and information that is available all over the park is simple and succinct. Additionally, the proximity to the city is what sets the national park apart. It allows you to explore the beauty of nature and return to urban life within a couple of hours.

The Highlights of Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone offers an off-roadand adventurous experience. Alongside waterfalls, Yellowstone has geysers, a different water feature which can be described as microbes that are awe-inspiring. Geysers are the home of thermophilic bacteria, that produce stunning, vibrant landscapes. This is among the least appreciated parts of Yellowstone.

Another major distinction is the fact that Yellowstone has geothermal activity which is the reason for the stunning geysers. The park’s terrain forms part of the volcano caldera. There are some who refer to this as supervolcano. Supervolcano is a major attraction in Yellowstone.

How Do Yosemite and Yellowstone Compare?

Apart from being both National parks Yosemite as well as Yellowstone are distinct. Yosemite National Park is better despite both parks having thousands of people visiting every year. However, you must think about the differences between these parks prior to planning your vacation.


Yosemite is less than Yellowstone (even even though it’s the one you must visit). Yellowstone covers approximately 3742 sq. miles. It is located in 3 States: Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. Although Yosemite is just 1,187 square miles however, 95 percent of the park is considered to be wilderness.

Yellowstone is home to numerous geographical and geological sites that fall into its vast territory:

  • 500 geysers
  • One caldera
  • 290 waterfalls
  • 909 historic structures
  • 1 800+ archaeological sites
  • Five park entrances
  • A total of 15 miles of boardwalk
  • Roads that cover 466 miles
  • 92 trailheads

Yosemite is also home to a number of geologic and geographical sites that are within the park’s boundaries:

  • The road covers 214 miles
  • 20 miles of bicycle paths
  • 849 buildings
  • Two glaciers
  • Numerous waterfalls

Main Attractions

Each national park offers special features that make them unique and worth visiting. The most popular attractions in Yosemite and. Yellowstone are very different and attract distinct crowds. Both are visited by millions of tourists every year.

Key locations to visit in Yellowstone National Park are:

  • Old Faithful
  • Mammoth Hot Springs
  • Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River
  • Norris Geyser Basin
  • Mud Volcano
  • Fountain Paint Pot Trail

The majority attractions in Yellowstone are linked to its geothermal and volcanic activity. Hot springs, geysers and volcanoes are enabled by the caldera within the Yellowstone park boundaries.

The major attractions to be visited in Yosemite National Park are:

  • Mariposa Grove
  • El Capitan
  • Half Dome
  • Tuolumne Meadows
  • Crane Flat
  • Yosemite Falls
  • Horsetail Fall
  • Hetch Hetchy Valley and Wapama Falls
  • Sentinel Rock
  • Glacier Point

Glaciers created the majority of the attractions in Yosemite many millions many years ago. The glaciers made huge granite slabs and stunning waterfalls throughout the park.

Make sure you’re prepared for traveling to these top places!


One of the most popular points of interest in national parks is the wildlife. Animals of a different kind can be found in the parks. Wildlife can make for fantastic photos and more memorable experiences.

Although this isn’t an exhaustive list of the species that are found in the two national parks, it does include many of the larger animals and birds that you can observe in the park.

A variety of reptiles, rodents, and amphibians are found along with the birds and mammals. These species that are smaller require a sharper sense of be able to see when walking on trails and don’t pose human danger therefore they weren’t included in the list.

Be sure to maintain an appropriate distance from wildlife. It is not a good idea to be “internet famous” simply for a photo with a bison, but the photo went wrong.

Only a few species found in these parks are considered to be threatened species:

  • Canadian Lynx
  • Grizzly Bear
  • Valley Longhorn beetle of the elderberry
  • California red-legged Frog
  • Yosemite toad
  • Sierra Nevada red fox
  • California wolverine

The Yosemite National Park, there are species listed as endangered at the state and federal levels:

  • Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep
  • Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog
  • Willow flycatcher
  • Great gray Owl in great gray
  • Bald Eagle

Climate and Weather

Both parks have excellent weather all through the year. However, summer is by far the most frequent time for visitors. Winter is not the most popular time to visit since many park trails are closed and walking around in the thick snow can be difficult.

Geographic Features

Yosemite lies on the Sierra Nevada Range in central California.

Redwood Sequoias are found through the park. They are huge trees that are extremely tall they are so big that you cannot get the arms of them. Additionally, glaciers cut the terrain that is Yosemite and you’ll see impressive granite walls like El Capitan, and sprawling waterfalls.

Yellowstone on the contrary, is predominantly located in Wyoming inside the Rocky Mountains.

A caldera volcano can be located in Yellowstone National Park. Calderas are huge caldera, which is typically filled with water that has been geothermally heated. Old Faithful Geyser is part of the geothermal hot springs, demonstrating the risky volcanic activity that has devastated the regions over the last 100,000 years.

A pair of comfortable hiking boots/shoes is worth the cost. Don’t compromise on fashion over comfort while you’re out in the wild.If you’re planning to travel with kids, I would suggest you to get their hiking boots or shoes also. It is always best to have an appropriate shoe that is sturdy to guarantee the safety of your children and to avoid rolling ankles!

Travelers and Tourism

The location of Yellowstone causes it to be less well-known as Yosemite. Because Yellowstone is located in an isolated area of the nation and is not near any other major tourist attractions The smaller trails are less busy. In addition, the wildlife can be slightly wilder. The wildlife isn’t very friendlier, so it is not advisable to be friendly to wildlife.

Yosemite is much simpler to reach and is closer to the major cities such as San Francisco, San Jose and Sacramento. The park is commercialized to facilitate access because of the large number of visitors and a lot of natural areas. In the summertime, Yosemite draws enormous crowds of visitors from all over the globe.

What National Park Is Worth Visiting: Yellowstone vs. Yosemite?

The two Yellowstone along with Yosemite National Parks are worth visiting. They are both worth a visit. U.S. National Park Service oversees a variety of stunning public lands that are worth taking advantage of the chance. You might prefer visiting one park over the other according to your preference of site. My opinion I believe that Yosemite will be the best out of both parks!

The Hidden Attractions of Yellowstone and Yosemite National Parks

When I go in vacation, I am always looking forward to exploring the hidden spots and the lesser-traveled trails. It’s wonderful to feel that your vacation is more rewarding than that of the typical tourist. It’s incredible, I would like you to experience this also!

These are the top attractions suggested by locals living in Yellowstone National Park:

  • If you’re looking for an extended hike, go for Shoshone Geyser Basin. The geysers there are less frequented by tourists, meaning they’re not as frequented.
  • If you’re interested in seeing amazing hot springs, make sure to visit Black Sand Basin.
  • This Fairy Falls Trail will take you away from the crowds and give you the vantage point of Grand Prismatic.

Within Yosemite National Park, there are many inaccessible attractions, like:

  • Explore the Hite Cove Trail in the Merced River Canyon during the springtime for the wildflower season.
  • Explore the ranger-led programs led by rangers at in the visitors’ center.
  • Hire a bicycle and take a ride on the bike trails of Yosemite Valley.
  • National Geographic recommends the hike starting beginning at Tioga Road to May Lake.
  • Take a drive to Olmstead Point, another stunning perspective of the area from Tioga Road.

The Long Histories of Yosemite and Yellowstone National Parks

Yosemite and. Yellowstone. Both national parks are rich in history. Since Native Americans originally inhabited these public lands, there’s plenty to know about the significance of the landscape and its usage in the present. Certain key figures from the past like Teddy Roosevelt, championed the efforts to protect the public areas!

Here’s a brief chronology of events occurring in both parks between the mid-1800s and the latter part of the 1900s According to the National Park Service:

  • 1851 Mariposa Battalion raids and demolish the local Native American homes and land to settle in the Gold Rush
  • 1864 The president Lincoln protects the land of Yosemite
  • 1868 John Muir visits Yosemite for the first time.
  • 1870 Initial expedition investigate Yellowstone
  • 1870 Old True Geyser is named in Yellowstone
  • 1 March 1872 Yellowstone was declared the nation’s first park in 1872 by President Grant
  • 1883: Railway built and began operation in Yellowstone
  • October 1st 1918: Yosemite become an officially recognized park in the national parks
  • 1896 Women’s first women’s group, Stella, Bertha, and Mabel Sweet and Maybel Davis descend Mt. Lyell across the Tuolumne Canyon
  • 1916: National Park Service established
  • 1916 Ansel Adams is in Yosemite for the first time.
  • 1918 Clare Marie Hodges becomes the first woman Park Ranger to be a woman in Yosemite
  • 1918 Army does not supervises Yellowstone
  • 1948 The first year Yellowstone was home to 1 million people.
  • 1971 The first year of winter overnight accommodation opens
  • 1995 The Wolves are restored Yellowstone within larger eco-restoration initiatives
  • 2016: National Park Service Centennial

How to Plan Your Trip to Yellowstone or Yosemite

A flight to a nearby park, and then renting a car to drive around the locations is the most well-known alternative for many. This is also the most convenient choice as the majority parks are located in areas with a lot of remoteness that the need for a vehicle is essential for travel. You can, however, organize trips with trains or an excursions that give you to have more time to unwind and also provides you with a range of facilities.

Take a Trip to Yellowstone or Yosemite by Automobile

The national parks are simple to navigate and driving is the method many people navigate around. Driving is an excellent method to view the parks in person and lets you interact to the communities that you drive through.

Here are a few reasons to journey to Yellowstone as well as Yosemite:

  • It is easy to stop as many times as you like – since you’re in a vehicle and you are able to visit any of the tourist spots you’d like to visit and travel through the park easily.
  • Driving lets you get close There’s plenty of parking in the vicinity of trailheads as well as important attractions at these parks.
  • A wide range of terrain You can pick roads that are paved and unpaved to explore the sites.
  • The flexibility of your plans using your car to travel around lets you be there sooner or later than crowds and decide what you want to see.

While most trips require the use of a car regardless of the reason, selecting an automobile as the sole means of transport could be a little more costly. Consider rental car prices when planning your trip to the national park that includes the cost of renting the vehicle, the cost per mile, and fuel costs.

Take a Trip to Yellowstone or Yosemite by Train

You can also go to the parks via train. There are more than 500 stations throughout the United States that can take passengers on an adventure through The National Parks! The trip includes Yellowstone, Yosemite, and the Grand Canyon in 13 days.

Here are a few reasons to use the train, rather than drive to Yellowstone as well as Yosemite:

  • It’s almost all-inclusive. The train trip includes accommodation, transportation and certain meals.
  • Provides unparalleled views. The trip takes you all the way through the Rockies and every train is equipped with observation cars.
  • Flexibility Amtrak lets you customize your journey to meet your personal preferences and requirements.
  • Moving freely on trains it is possible to move in between car and car.
  • Dining options for gourmet Alongside snacks cars, Amtrak offers seated dining.

Have Someone Else Worry About Your Trip’s Details

For certain types of people, the most enjoyable types of vacations are those which require the least planning. One method to achieve this is to utilize an agent for travel or an excursion services. A pre-planned, all-inclusive excursion can be costly which is why it’s not an option for all people. However, there are a variety of options that will suit a wide range of budgets.

Here are a few benefits that come with having someone else arrange your trip for you:

  • All you need to pay is to make a payment most of the time, this is just one lump sum and you’re done!
  • There’s no need to worry about timing or scheduling concerns The leader of your expedition manages all scheduling for you.
  • An easy and enjoyable method of traveling All you need to do is arrive in time for the time your group departs

The National Geographic Expedition experience offers many benefits.

  • Choices for casual and premium services Select between free time or highly structured and guided experiences.
  • Prices include accommodation admission fees to parks and other fees for attractions and meals.

In Conclusion

Each of Yosemite and Yellowstone are both stunning in their sights and scenery. But, Yosemite National Park is the one to explore first. It is a stunning look over Yosemite National Park, which includes the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the Redwood Sequoias. However, Yellowstone has geothermal activity that attracts a lot of tourists. It also provides a more rugged getaway for the nature-loving type.